On Being Managed

I’m not sure what it was about the conversation or even what we talked about but at some point it dawned on me that my daughter, my firstborn, the apple of my eye, was carefully managing our conversation.

You know what I mean, right? We’ve all done it. We seek to maintain a calm environment. For God’s sake, don’t rile up the Olds! We know not to to mention the army after Uncle Bob’s had that second Budweiser and we don’t bring up Grandma’s diamond ring when Aunt Anne’s around, nor do we talk about great stepmoms to sensitive birth moms or cheating at cards around Aunt Dot and we obviously don’t mess around with Jim, everyone knows that. When Dad talks in mixed company about how he’s never made a bed or folded laundry, because that’s a wo…we cut in and ask a question about skinning a deer or driving a stick shift. That’s called triage and we do it without thinking. One just learns these things.

But somehow, I never thought of myself as someone who might occasionally need to be managed. Then again, I’m still sometimes amazed that I have adult children. When did that happen? I know I was there but sometimes it feels like I drifted off under a tree and slept for 15 years, during which time everyone and everything got older except my brain, which still harbors a tree-climbing, free-styling hoyden who definitely does not need to be managed by her children thank you very much.

And yet, she’s so skilled I almost didn’t notice, so she’s been doing this for awhile now. This is a developing situation, folks. Stay tuned for updates. And, please, share your stories. Do you have an emotional manager?

Chicken out

  5 comments for “On Being Managed

  1. Doug in Sugar Pine
    February 19, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Yay! Two Chucken posts in two days!
    I have a friend named Glenn who has been a really solid friend since the nineties and has been there for me on more occasions than I can count, and for a while a few years ago he got really far off into right wing propaganda. After a couple of inexplicable arguments with him, I took to “managing” our conversations so as to avoid topics that would set him off.
    He seemed to understand what was happening, and didn’t go off of the deep end unprompted when he would visit, which I appreciated.
    I felt sort of sad, because he had been such a good friend and having to behave myself verbally around him seemed so anathema to the relationship we had developed.
    We haven’t been around him much since we moved away from the Bay Area, so I was pleased a few days ago when Briana got a text from him that said he has been working the same stable job for over a year and seems to be on a more even keel.
    Whether I will have to mind my P’s and Q’s (see what I did there?) around him the next time we talk remains to be seen.


  2. February 20, 2021 at 12:54 am

    I did see what you did there:-) I hope Glenn is good now. That’s definitely a tough one. I have a cousin who is practically like a sister to me. We lived together for a short time after high school and before marriage, and we’ve always been close. After the 2016 election I posted something on FB about our new president and how I felt about the whole situation and she responded “come on, now, that’s not fair”. I didn’t really get it because I couldn’t comprehend, at the time, that anyone other than a few million racists, wanted anything to do with this guy. I responded something about her being my favorite cousin, which at the time felt like me letting her know, hey, we’re family and I love you and I would never let politics come between us, but in retrospect probably came across as patronizing, and she didn’t respond and I didn’t hear from her again much after that. Just like that, a favorite cousin became a see ya buy-bye cousin. But we saw each other a couple times after that and maybe we were managing each other but it never seemed like that. It seemed the same but there was a subtle difference, an uncomfortableness. It happened again this year when we spoke on the phone and she said some things about not wanting to watch the news and being uncomfortable when people talk about the news, and feeling angry. This was just before the election, and it made me uncomfortable because if you aren’t paying attention and listening to everything, then you’re protecting your own biases, whatever they are, and that’s not healthy. But then I thought, maybe you’d do the same thing if you moved to Alabama or Texas or something and it felt like everyone was against you. I don’t know what the answer is to this situation except nothing matters but love.and hate, at the end of the day, and who would say they are in favor of hate, so maybe, really, it’s all about love. Or maybe love and fear. Kind of like hate only sneakier. Hate is straightforward. Fear masquerades as patriotism and courage sometimes.


  3. Joanne Noragon
    February 20, 2021 at 1:03 am

    Yes, and I wish I could remember the details. I just typed a thesis, but can’t remember enough, so here is the bare bones. I was the clerk for the local fire department, cleaned up their books, saved them from financial punishment in a state audit. I worked there for four years.
    One time a fireman repeated something that should have been private and it got back to me. The next time I went to work I passed the offending fireman in the day room, and two other officers. They greeted me and I snapped at them, because I was unhappy with one of them. Or all three, if need be.
    I went into my office, closed the door enough to hang up my coat, put the door back against the wall and turned into the room. All three of them were in the middle of my office, and two of them had plenty of girth. They passed me through a door 3/4 open, and I didn’t see it.
    The chief asked what was my problem and I told them why I was angry with the third man there. To them it was a guy thing and I should not be angry. And they proceeded to professionally walk me back. It took me a couple of minutes to realize this was how they talked someone off a bridge or down a ladder. I was so fascinated I let it go on for a bit before I agreed to excuse the offender.
    That was more than fifteen years ago and I cannot remember the story, but I sure remember the essence of being professionally managed.


    • February 20, 2021 at 1:10 am

      Yes! You totally get it Joanne! Did you appreciate it? Sounds like you did. Or did you resent it? I resented it a little bit because it made me feel old. I got over it pretty quickly because my kids are awesome and it’s nice she took the time instead of just saying what she really thought (which was probably along the lines of “Shut up you whiney Karen”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne Noragon
        February 20, 2021 at 11:59 pm

        I despised the feeling I was being “managed” but was fascinated by the technique they had been taught to handle a difficult encounter.


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